Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Top Five Songs By The Temptations

It's been a while since I did one of these lists, So why not now? Nothing? Anybody? Okay then, here we go...
This list is about my personal favorite RnB vocal group, and one of the proven greatest of all time, The Temptations. I've gone on elsewhere in this blog about the many virtues of this group, so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just say these gentlemen have given us some of the highest quality music ever to bless an ear, and to follow are, in order of my own personal favorites, their top five songs and why.

#5) Cloud Nine
In 1969 Otis Williams, after hearing music by Sly And The Family Stone, suggested to producer Norman Whitfield that maybe they could try similar material. This song not only marks the beginning of a new Temptations era, but it was also the debut of the Mark II lineup with new singer Dennis Edwards.

#4) Don't Look Back
The tragic,immensely moving voice of the troubled Paul Williams. He never sang enough for my tastes and he left us far too soon.

#3) Treat Her Like A Lady
The Temptations in the 80s...and the debut of Ali Ollie Woodson who may not be everyone's favorite Temptations vocalist, he was arguably the most technically gifted. Probably the best from this era.

#2) You're My Everything
The velvet falsetto of the also gone-too-soon Eddie Kendricks singing the exquisitely pleading lyrics of Roger Penzabene, This one of the greatest songs of the Norman Whitfield era. There were a few worthy high tenors to fill Kendricks' spot, most notably the recently deceased Otis Damon Harris, but nobody, I mean nobody sounded like Eddie. Also some of the finest orchestration heard on a Motown recording.

#1) My Girl
This song is #1 because it is not only the group's signature tune, It is also one of the most well-known pop songs ever. The Funk Bothers' Frank White's (RIP) guitar intro is universally recognizable. The group's dance steps for the song are even classic, unchanged to this day regardless of the line-up. William "Smokey" Robinson wrote the lyrics dedicated to his then-wife Claudette and intended to have The Miracles record the song,  co-written with Miracle Ronald White. But Smokey, astute as ever, detected the immense untapped potential in Temptation David Ruffin and decided to make this song the first vehicle for his gritty, emotive lead voice. The rest is freakin' history as they gave birth to not only a classic song, but an American icon.

This list of course, is totally my own subjective opinion. If anyone thinks I got it wrong, I'd love to hear your list and/or comments about mine. That's what it's all about, after all.


  1. I agree with "My Girl" being number 1. The Temptations are great. I think that "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" is another great one by them too.

  2. You are quite right,Ryan..."Papa" is a real classic and deserves a place on any Temptations list.